Super board takes over Alberta health care
I hate to be a wet blanket but this sounds like a sure recipe for disaster.
EDMONTON - The Alberta government took a major step Thursday to reshape health-care delivery by dissolving nine existing regional health boards and creating a new super board.
"What we are attempting to put in place is a governance model ... that can give us better access (to care) and a more sustainable system," Health Minister Ron Liepert said at a news conference.
It's the latest move by the Alberta government to reform health care. In 1995-96, it got into a fight with Ottawa over extra billing, which cost the province $3.4 million in penalties.
Thousands of people protested in 1998 when the government introduced Bill 11, which allowed for the expansion of private clinics.
Then, in 2006, the Tory government introduced its "Third Way" of health care, proposing to let patients pay for faster access to some procedures and allowing doctors to work in both the public and for-profit systems. But public outcry forced the government to back away from those proposals.
Premier Ed Stelmach said earlier this week that Albertans believe there are too many pencil-pushers in health care, so money saved on administration will go towards treatments.
"We heard a lot about the perception that there's this huge administration in health-care delivery," Stelmach said Wednesday. But Thursday, the premier was vague on how many administrative jobs might be cut.
"We've reduced 127 board members to just five or six on the new board," said the premier, pointing out that total administration costs are less than four per cent of the $13 billion annual health budget.
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